If you love cross-country skiing but haven’t tried it in Banff National Park, you have a lot to look forward to. The best cross-country skiing trails in Banff National Park are spectacular, with many trails taking you through some of the most magnificent scenery in North America. You will travel through snow-covered pine forests, past frozen waterfalls and along the shores of frozen lakes, all the while surrounded by majestic peaks. We love cross-country skiing these great trails in Banff National Park every year.
(4.0km, 0m, 0.5-1h)
This is one of the most spectacular cross-country skiing trails on earth for beginners. You ski across frozen Lake Louise and get spectacular views. If you like your XC skiing in Banff National Park with ups and downs, you can return through the woods. Otherwise, retrace your trail back across Lake Louise.
(19.1km, 178m, 3-4h)
Just above Canmore, on the Smith-Dorrien Trail, is the Goat Creek Trail, which connects Goat Creek to Banff Springs on a fantastic XC ski trail. This is a favorite cross-country trail for locals, with many xc skiers doing it at least once each season. If you’ve got a lot of energy, do the journey out and back, though most xc skiers arrange a shuttle one-way.
(20.0km, 140m, 2.5-4h)
A classic cross-country ski trail in Banff National Park, the Great Divide trail is located near Lake Louise. This ski trail keeps good snow throughout the winter, so is popular early and late in the season. The Great Divide XC ski trail goes along the old Lake Louise highway so you can see the Great Divide Monument and ski into Yoho National Park.
(15.4km, 170m, 3-5h)
If you are looking for a trail through the backcountry, the Cascade Valley is a good choice. You can go as far as the Stoney Bridge or stop at Cascade Bridge for a shorter trail. This is a popular cross-country ski trails, accessed from the Lake Minnewanka parking lot.
(13.3km, 190m, 2-3h)
Pipestone Loop is another popular cross-country ski trail in Banff National Park. This trail is part of a group of trails that starts by Lake Louise village. The loop is kept in good condition and passes along the Pipestone River, which enhances the thrill of this trail.
(17.4km, 360m, 3-4h)
If you are looking for a longer xc ski trail near Lake Louise, then check out this combination of the Tramline and Bow River loops. This XC ski trail takes you on a descent from Chateau Lake Louise to Lake Louise Village where you will find the Bow River section. You can enjoy the spectacular vistas before returning to the Chateau.
(15.6km, 250m, 3-5h)
Moraine Lake Road offers some of the best cross-country skiing in Banff National Park, and is very popular with xc skiers from nearby Calgary. Due to avalanche risk, you can’t ski all the way to Moraine Lake. The cross-country trail is well maintained throughout the winter, and typically has some of the best conditions.